Opinion: The Myth About Virginity

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The term virginity means different things to different people. Meanwhile someone’s understanding of virginity can be shaped by what he or she have learned from their peers, parents, family, religion or society.

However, there is absolutely no scientific basis for the idea of virginity.

The African concept of virginity is that a woman must bleed at her very first sexual intercourse. This myth has not just come to stay, but has been added to the moral qualification of a good girl or wife material as recognised.

Nevertheless, with development, science has been able to prove that this long lasting myth is false or not necessarily true. It is purely anatomy of human body known as ‘hymen’.

A health news report from Myupchar states that, “the hymen is largely misunderstood – not only by men but also women all over the world. It’s made out to be a symbol of virginity and purity when all it really is, is a part of your body.”

In the same vein, Cleveland clinic confirmed that, “Your hymen is a piece of tissue covering or surrounding part of your vaginal opening. It’s formed during development and present during birth. It thins over time and tears. Some people will feel pain or bleed when their hymen breaks, but most will not notice.”

Despite these proves, the myth can hardly be removed not only in the society but in the minds of the people.

Considering the fact that, the hymen which is a thin piece of tissues at the opening of the female reproductive organ can be broken in various ways, through sexual activities; fingering, oral sex, penetration, rape, masturbation, etc.

Sporting activities that concentrate pressure around the vaginal region can also stretch the hymen; riding a bike, riding a horse, gymnastics, climbing on a jungle gym, vigorous exercise, inserting a tampon, getting a pelvic exam or pap text among others. However, this does not exclude the fact that virginity can also be lost or the hymen broken in deliberate sexual intercourse.

Dr. Shepherd and Dr. Piper, a health and sex worker with healthy teen network, further explained that it’s entirely possible to disrupt the hymen during weight bearing exercise and not feel a thing. Alternatively, it’s also possible to notice a bit of bleeding and tenderness when the hymen tears. It’s different for everyone.

This is a concept of virginity the African society overlooked. This myth has been passed on from generation to generation approved as an ideology, without proper research.

According to Cleveland Clinic Ohio, “The hymen has a reputation for being an indicator of sexual activity — like a hard, seal-like covering that blocks your vagina — but it usually has no connection to whether a woman (or person assigned female at birth) has had sex. In reality, it’s soft and elastic and doesn’t necessarily block your vaginal opening. It can break from everyday activities, inserting a tampon or having sex.”

Obviously, This myth has made women (especially) to suffer discrimination from the hands of the society and even directly from their husbands. They stand speechless to certain questions partainning to how they lost their virginity.

Our traditional society regard virginity as “the pride of a woman” ignoring the fact that when it comes to human anatomy, certain issues are exceptional. The myth can not be changed but our perspective, concept, ideology and mind set can be changed with proper and adequate education.

– Simon Beatrice and James Samson Olorunfemi
Department of Mass Communication,
Prince Abubakar Audu University (PAAU), Anyigba.

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